How to Spot a Bootleg Cannabis Vape Cartridge
Illicit cannabis cartridges are being blamed for a rash of severe lung illnesses across the US. How do you know your vape cart isn’t counterfeit?
Vape pens are increasingly the go-to choice for cannabis consumers, both in states with legal cannabis, and on the still-thriving black market. Even in places where you can purchase weed legally, some people are still buying black-market vapes to avoid the steep taxes that come with retail pot. However, as we reported in 2017, the scariest thing about the health effects of using oil-filled weed vape pens is how little we know.
In California, seven people have been hospitalized since June with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), prompting a warning from the Department of Public Health urging consumers not to purchase cannabis vape cartridges from unlicensed retailers. And a rash of illnesses in states including New York, New Jersey, and Utah have been linked to illicit weed vapes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report this week stating that 193 cases of severe lung illness have been identified in 22 states, linking many of them to cannabis vapes, although the report notes that no specific THC product has been identified as the cause.
Counterfeit Weed Vape Cartridges Are Everywhere — and They’re Making People Sick
How to Navigate the Wild World of Weed Pens
While researchers race to identify the long-term health effects of vaping, concerned consumers are wondering if their weed vapes will make them sick. How can you tell if a vape cartridge is contaminated? It’s very much buyer beware, but here are a few things to consider.
California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control recently kicked off a public education program called “Get #Weedwise” to inform consumers of the potential health impacts of ingesting untested cannabis. The main takeaway? The only way to make sure you’re consuming safely is to buy your weed legally from a licensed shop. California consumers can search for licensed retail locations on CApotcheck.com. The BCC also set up a form for online complaints about counterfeit products, which is kind of amazing when you think about it. Complaining about the illegal weed you bought to a government agency is so 2019.
Published: August 20, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News